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HS2 Ltd has sought to avoid ancient woodland wherever practicable and to strike the right balance between the effects on people, the natural environment, engineering requirements and cost. Substantial woodland planting measures are included in our plans on Phase 1 which have been arranged to link neighbouring woodlands and support greater habitat creation. Ancient woodland soils, containing their seeds, spores and bulbs, will be translocated to new woodland creation sites.
The effects on ancient woodland will continue to be reviewed through the detailed design on Phase 1 and will be further supported by an additional £5 million Woodland Fund in addition to HS2’s main landscape and habitat creation programme. An independent Ecology Review Group, members of which include Natural England, local authorities, nature conservation NGOs such as the wildlife and woodland trusts will have regular access to the monitoring outputs from habitat creation sites and will be invited to comment on progress and the requirement for any remedial action. For locations where it is intended to use ancient woodland soils for new woodland planting, monitoring will be undertaken over a 50-year establishment period.